It was officially opened in November 1994. The convention centre has a total of 100,000 square metres of space, over multiple levels. It is separately owned from the Suntec City development. It is one of the largest multi-purpose convention and exhibition facilities, and contains a convention hall, an exhibition hall, ballrooms and meeting rooms.
Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre
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I recently visited the convention centre for the Anime Festival Asia (AFA) in November. The last time I went there before it had undergone renovations, the place looked grey and unremarkable, somewhat boring and plain. Hence, i was pleasantly surprised to find that the revamp made it look much more 'happening' now!
Upon reaching the convention centre, you'll immediately see a large expanse of wall that has been equipped with a multitude of screens, giving it a very modern look. The renovations aren't as noticeable or drastic in the interiors, though, and the centre still hosts more or less the same conventions.
Another thing I like about the centre is it's convenient location. It's easy to get there by public transport, and after you're done visiting whichever convention, you can just hop to Suntec City next to it for shopping and a meal.
I remember coming here like once or twice a year, to enjoy the exhibitions. Most of the time, I would go when they had a book fair, where the books would be priced insanely low and I would wonder how on earth was a profit to be made. Anyway, the halls are just so huge that I could get lost once or twice; at least I knew where the entrance was, haha. The items are always very well arranged, though, so though the hall is big it is not confusing to navigate.
What does not impress me about the exhibitions is that they are recurring and always repeat themselves at around the same time of the year, kinda gets boring after awhile. I still prefer this over Expo.
In the past, I used to frequent this place because of my church that was situated in one of the rooms of the convention centre. I still remember walking on the carpeted floor and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer space and the number of rooms that Suntec had.
On the first floor, I remember I could smell the wafts of food coming from the Kopitiam as I walked through the stalls with Hawkers working hard to sell their food. The place was always packed with people - tables always occupied - and stuffy and noisy despite the aircon.
However, while travelling away from the Kopitiam, the path leads to many different shops that lead to the other buildings of Suntec City. Whether it is Hagen Daaz or Cotton On, this place has everything! Not forgetting that there's a little cosy stowaway section for the technology geeks just above the escalator going up from Anderson's Ice Cream!
Suntec City is an extremely famous place in Singapore, at one point or another in your life (assuming you are a born and bred Singaporean), you would have been to the place. I frequently had the occasion to visit the place mainly for Popular book fairs, PC shows as well as warehouse clothing sales.
The place itself it huge and grandiose, with a slight perfumed scented atmosphere that sets you at ease as you enter. The tone of the lighting is moderate but not glaring, the gentle brown wood and marble floor giving it the feeling of modernity and at the heart of the centre of the city. However, one annoyance I always had with such huge places is the difficulty of navigation. It is really easily to get yourself lost in this huge place especially with signboards sparsely located in strategic locations. Moreover, it is a tiring affair too to get from place to place.
The schedules for the exhibitions are more or less predictable. With Popular Book Fairs held twice or four times a year. Electronic and PC shows can be expected every holiday but clothing and warehouse sales randomly scattered. Otherwise, there are other kinds of exhibitions such as that for perfumes and musical instruments that are interests for the select group of people but not for the masses.
One thing over the years that I feel Suntec City has improved would be its accessibility. Originally, the lack of buses to that part of town meant that one had to travel to Marina Bay MRT before commencing a long walk. However, with the opening of the Circle line, there has been an increase in ease in getting to the place since Esplanade station is located just outside the shopping mall.